A marine reserve of 12 million years ago
These volcanic islets, about 30 nm from the continent, must be visited at least once. The Columbretes Islands are a marine reserve where restrictions on fishing and visits are applied. There are some buoys that allow you to spend the night in boats of different lengths. Thanks to the protection measures in force since 1990, the Columbretes have developed a very submarine world, which we can observe by diving or with a respirator tube. You can only access a part of the largest island, Grossa Island, along a guided tour. The visit to Columbretes allows you to stop at the crossing to the Balearic Islands. Until Sant Antoni de Portmany, on the west coast of Ibiza, there is only 65 nm direct drive. Until the port of Andratx, nearest to Mallorca, there are 80 nm. According to studies, the Columbretes were born 12 million years ago. Around the island of Grossa, there are four places where there were possibly eruptions that led to the formation of the island.
HOW TO ARRIVE
In the bay with a horseshoe shaped port Tofiño, there are ten mooring buoys, and three more to the west of the island of Grossa, when when the eastern waves prevent it from stopping. A scale on the west coast allows access to the island.
The majority of the buoys of Tofiño port are suitable for boats up to 15 m in length; for longer vessels there are three (also three of the east coast); There is only one for ships of more than 20 m. The maximum length is indicated in the buoys. The mooring binds to a smaller auxiliary buoy. Before the Foradada, the smallest neighboring island, there are two buoys on the west coast and one on the west of Ferrera Island.
Buoys can not be used to stay overnight or can be booked. According to the guides that bring the groups to the island’s lighthouse, it is difficult for all buoys to be occupied, outside of August. Even in this case, however, if the conditions are provided, a buoy can be used for two boats. It is desirable to apply for VHF 09 (only until 23:00 p.m.).
To visit the main island, you must request it for VHF 09. Groups will be formed, which will take a journey of approximately 1.30. The visits are at 10.30, 12, 13.30, 17 and 18.30 h. It arrives with a boat, to the edge of a crane, in the western part of the harbor bay. On the ground, you only visit the northern part of the island of Grossa, from the stairs that lead to the lighthouse.
Access to other areas is prohibited, and you can only visit the island for a maximum of 78 people per day, 120 in July and in August. The guides tell the visitors of history and the inhabitants of the archipelago: the last firemen, the extermination of the serpents before the construction of the lighthouse in 1856, local fauna and flora. With special attention to the queen’s hawks, when they finish autumn they migrate to Madagascar and return, to occupy the cavities of the steep cliffs of Columbretes, below the lighthouse. The Columbretes are valued among divers, due to the abundance of underwater life and the lack of fishing. The immersion in apnea allows you to see mere, barracuda and lobster. Therefore, diving schools regularly go there. Every day a maximum of 72 divers are admitted. To dive into it, you must request it at least 15 days in advance (see page 60). An out-of-the-ordinary experience: spend a night at Columbretes.
The distance from the continent implies that no light, other than that of the lighthouse, generates light pollution. You can have a starry sky, as long as no clouds appear and the moon does not light up too much sky. If you plan your stay between July 17 and August 24, it is possible to see fleeting stars. It is the time of the year in which you can see the tears of Saint Lawrence, which intensify by the 13th of August.
Regulations and permits
Since it is a protected marine area, it is not possible to fish within the defined limits. It is also prohibited to anchor it; The buoys of the indicated points must be used. On the ground, it is not allowed to travel outside the roads. You can not catch plants, stones or animals.